Doctoral Thesis Policy and Procedures
Doctoral theses undertaken by doctoral candidates governed by programme regulations that came into effect in or after 2020.
Note: All other doctoral candidates should consult the relevant programme regulations and associated policies, procedures and guidelines.
To specify the policy and procedures that apply to doctoral theses undertaken by doctoral candidates governed by programme regulations that came into effect in or after 2020.
1. Candidates are required to submit a doctoral thesis for examination under the applicable degree regulations and procedures.
2. A doctoral thesis must be a substantial presentation of the outcome of an original and coherent doctoral research project. It must situate the doctoral research in the broader framework of the disciplinary field(s) of study.
3. A doctoral thesis must demonstrate the research achievements of an individual. Where doctoral research involves the contributions of others, those contributions must be clearly identified in accordance with clause 22 of the procedures below.
4. The candidate’s contribution to the research outcome(s) presented in the thesis as the outcome(s) of the doctoral research must be no less than 65% and capable, in extent, of satisfying the regulatory criteria for the award of the degree.
5. The thesis requirement at clause 1 must be satisfied by the submission of a cohesive written document.
6. Subject to the PhD Including Scholarly Creative Work Policy and Procedures, scholarly creative work (written or otherwise) that forms an integrated whole with the written document may be submitted for examination as part of the thesis requirement for the PhD.
7. Subject to clause 14a, and excepting citation of other work, which must be fully and appropriately attributed and referenced, the candidate must have written the text of the thesis.
8. All third party editing and proof-reading must be conducted in accordance with the Third Party Editing and Proofreading of Theses and Dissertations Guidelines.
9. Subject to clause 10, the thesis is to be presented and examined in English unless otherwise approved by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) in accordance with clauses 23-26 of the procedures below.
10. The thesis may be presented and examined in Te Reo Māori where the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) (or nominee) and the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) are satisfied that appropriate supervision is available, that suitable examiners, and a suitable Examination Committee and Oral Examination committee, will be available for the examination, and that the thesis topic/disciplinary area(s) do not make presentation and examination in English essential on academic grounds, and subject to clauses 23 and 25 of procedures below.
11. Subject to clause 12, the work submitted for examination in fulfilment of the thesis requirement, including all appendices and references, must not exceed 100,000 words except as permitted pursuant to clause 13 of this policy or by the PhD Including Scholarly Creative Work Policy and Procedures.
12. Where doctoral programme regulations specify a word limit lower than that at clause 11 of this policy, the programme regulations prevail, and the specified word length includes all appendices and references.
13. In exceptional academic circumstances, and subject to clauses 27-29 of the procedures below, the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may give permission for a thesis to exceed the word length specified in the doctoral programme regulations.
Inclusion of published work
14. The written document submitted in fulfilment of the thesis requirement may include one or more publications subject to the following conditions:
a. The candidate must be the sole or lead author of the work. To be lead author, the candidate must have written all or the majority of the text and have their contribution to the publication confirmed by all contributors, in the Statement of Contribution required under clause 22 of the procedures below, as no less than 65%.
b. Except for the MD, all candidate work for the publication/s must be undertaken under supervision during the candidate’s enrolment in the doctoral degree for which the thesis is submitted.
c. All co-authors, and the publisher where work has been published or accepted for publication, must agree to the inclusion of the publication in the thesis prior to submission of the thesis for examination.
d. In addition to satisfying clause 2 of this policy, the thesis must, with regard to the inclusion of introductory, concluding and methodological discussions, and literature review, conform to the disciplinary norm for theses that do not include publications.
e. The thesis must be a coherent whole; publications included in the thesis must be integrated by the effective use of linking passages and/or otherwise amended to facilitate coherence, eliminate unnecessary repetition across the thesis and to ensure appropriate scope of engagement with a topic.
f. The thesis remains subject to clause 20 of this policy and must be presented throughout in a consistent format, citation style and typeface.
15. For the purposes of clause 14, “publication” encompasses any work that has appeared in a journal, book or other forum (digital or print), and any work submitted or accepted for publication but which has not appeared at the time of submission of the thesis.
16. There is no requirement as to the number of publications, or as to the journal ranking or impact factor associated with any journal publication, included in accordance with clause 14.
17. The opportunity to include one or more publications in accordance with clause 14 in no way mitigates the statutory requirements for doctoral candidates to undertake, and present the outcome of, a coherent doctoral research project.
18. Candidates including publications in accordance with clause 14 are not required to include a publication in its entirety and may revise previously published material for the purposes of updating or improving material as well as for the purposes of clause 14e.
19. Where a candidate’s contribution to a publication is less than 65%, or where a candidate did not write all or the majority of the text, the candidate may report on their contribution to the research that informs the publication, with due reference to the publication, but may not include that publication in the thesis.
20. The written document presented in fulfilment of the thesis requirement must be formatted in accordance with clauses 30-45 of the procedures below.
21. The thesis must comply with the Third Party Copyright Guidelines. If scholarly creative work submitted as part of the thesis requirement includes co-produced work, the approval of co-producers is required in the Statement of Contribution required under clause 22 of the procedures below.
Statement of contribution
22. Where the doctoral research presented for examination, including any creative practice research, contains the contributions of others, the nature of those contributions, any necessary permissions, and the nature and extent of the candidate’s contribution must be detailed in a Statement of Contribution completed in accordance with the University template. The statement of contribution must be included within the thesis submission, pre and post examination, as per clause 35 of these procedures.
23. Candidates seeking to submit a thesis in a language other than English must normally apply to do so at the time of application for admission to the doctoral programme.
24. Applications to submit a thesis in a language other than English or Te Reo Māori will only be considered on grounds related to the thesis topic and field of study. The English language capacity of the candidate is not grounds for consideration.
25. Applications to submit a thesis in a language other than English must be accompanied by the recommendation of the proposed main or joint supervisor.
26. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) will give permission for a thesis to be submitted and/or examined in a language other than English or Te Reo Māori only where they are satisfied that:
- appropriate supervision is available
- the field of study and topic of the thesis make this essential
- suitable examiners, and a suitable Examination Committee and Oral Examination committee, will be available for the examination of the thesis
27. Unless permitted by the PhD Including Scholarly Creative Work Policy and Procedures, candidates seeking to exceed the word limit at clause 11 of the above policy must apply to the School of Graduate Studies.
28. Applications to exceed the word limit at clause 11 of the above policy must be made solely on academic grounds and must be accompanied by a statement of support from the main or joint supervisor detailing the exceptional nature of the academic circumstances.
29. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) will determine the outcome of applications made under clauses 27-28 of these procedures.
30. The font used must be black and, in the main text of the thesis, equivalent to either 12 point Times New Roman or 10 point Arial. Footnotes or endnotes may be of a smaller font size but must be easily readable by examiners.
31. Line spacing must be no less than 1.5 line space and no more than double line space, with the exception of longer quotations, footnotes/endnotes and materials in tables/figures, which may be single line spaced.
32. Referencing system, paragraph indentations (or lack thereof), formatting of quotations and use of footnotes/endnotes must adhere to the chosen style manual (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA, MHRA), the choice of which must be determined in accordance with disciplinary norms.
33. These procedures prevail in any case of conflict between these procedures and the style manual/referencing system selected under clause 32 of these procedures.
34. Page numbers must be located in a consistent position throughout the thesis.
35. The order of material in a thesis must be as follows:
a. Title page (required; not numbered and not counted in pagination).
b. Abstract (required; numbered in Roman numerals).
c. Dedication (optional; not numbered and not counted in pagination).
d. Acknowledgements (optional; numbered in Roman numerals).
e. Table of contents (required; numbered in Roman numerals).
f. Lists of tables, figures, etc. (optional; tables and figures numbered by Arabic numerals; the thesis page/s on which the lists feature are numbered in Roman numerals).
g. Glossary (optional; numbered in Roman numerals).
h. Statement of Contribution (where required under clause 22 of these procedures; numbered in Roman numerals).
i. Main text of thesis (required; numbered in Arabic numerals starting at 1).
j. Appendices (optional; numbering continued from main text in Arabic numerals).
k. Bibliography/List of references (required; numbering continued in Arabic numerals).
36. The thesis title must be centred in the top third of the title page and must describe the content of the thesis accurately.
37. The candidate’s full name must be centred in the middle of the title page.
38. The following text must be completed and placed in the lower third of the title page:
A thesis submitted in [partial] fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of [name of your degree] in [subject area], the University of Auckland, [year of completion]. This thesis is for examination purposes only and is confidential to the examination process.
The final sentence must be removed prior to final submission of the thesis post examination.
39. The abstract must be a succinct summary, of no more than 350 words, of the aim, methods, findings and conclusions of the doctoral research.
40. The main text of the thesis must be divided into a logical scheme of chapters and/or sections that is followed consistently throughout the work. Any logical system of subdivision within chapters or sections appropriate to the disciplinary fields may be used.
41. The chapters/sections of a thesis must not be termed “papers”.
42. Brief chapter/section abstracts, and/or keywords, must either be included at the start of all chapters/sections in the thesis (save, at the candidate’s discretion, the introduction and conclusion) or omitted entirely.
43. The thesis must conclude with a bibliography/Reference List, as per clause 35.
44. Where a glossary is included to define or explain specialised terms, symbols and abbreviations, any abbreviations or symbols used must conform to disciplinary norms and must be listed individually, with the abbreviated form starting from the left-hand margin followed by the full form to its right.
45. Where appendices are used for any additional material that does not fit conveniently or appropriately in the body of the text, each appendix must be labelled in sequence, either with capital letters or with numerals.
The following definitions apply to this document:
Candidate means a candidate for a doctoral degree at the University.
Doctoral candidates are students who are enrolled in doctoral degrees at the University.
Examination Committee is the committee, distinct from the oral examination committee, that may be formed for the purpose of considering the examiners’ reports. It comprises the academic head, an associate dean or director, and the Academic Head Nominee.
Joint supervisor refers to the joint supervisor with primary responsibility for administrative requirements.
Lead author means the candidate must have written all or the majority of the text and must have their contribution to the work confirmed by all co-authors as no less than 65%.
Main supervisor is the lead supervisor who takes primary responsibility for the supervision of a candidate.
Oral Examination Committee is the committee, distinct from the Examination Committee, formed for the purpose of the oral examination. It comprises the independent chair, oral examiner and the Academic Head Nominee.
Publications include any work that has appeared in a journal, book or other publication, and any work submitted or accepted for publication but which had not appeared at the time of submission of the thesis. Publications include ‘traditional’ hard copy works, such as books and journal articles, and works that only appear in digital form.
Subject area is the official subject area in which the candidate is enrolled.
Thesis is a substantial presentation of the outcome of an original and coherent doctoral research project. It situates the research in the broader framework of the disciplinary field(s), and entails a cohesive written document.
Key relevant documents
Include the following:
Document management and control
Content manager: School of Graduate Studies
Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies
Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies, Senate and Council
Date approved: October 2021
Review date: October 2026